A White Sox team that has been starved for early leads couldn't have built one any earlier than they did tonight.
Tim Anderson hit his first MLB homer on Clay Buchholz's first pitch of the game, starting the path toward a 2-0 cushion for Chris Sale before he ever took the mound. The Condor had more than enough to hold it, striking out nine batters over seven innings of one-run ball for his league-leading 12th victory.
The White Sox didn't light up Buchholz like the rest of the league has, but they did enough by tagging him for three runs over five innings. Adam Eaton hit the game's second pitch for a double and made it the other 180 feet on productive outs to build a two-run lead.
Sale risked giving up the lead in the third, giving up three straight line drives -- two singles, one out -- and sac fly to cut the lead to 2-1. Dustin Pedroia followed with another line-drive single to extend the inning, and Xander Bogaerts walked to load the bases for Hanley Ramirez. That's when Sale found his good command, burying two perfect backfoot sliders for the strikeout to kill the threat.
Todd Frazier answered the run with a solo shot in the fourth, his 20th homer, allowing Sale to breathe a little easier. The Sox ace didn't need the extra run, as he cruised over his last four innings, retiring 10 in a row at one point. He gave up a one-out double in his final inning of work, but he came back with his eighth and ninth strikeouts to hand a 3-1 lead to the bullpen.
Nate Jones gave up a couple of one-out singles before striking out Ramirez for the second out. When Bradley came to the plate, Robin Ventura answered with David Robertson for a four-out save. He was up to the task, getting a first-pitch groundout to end the eighth, then working past a two-out walk to David Ortiz to close out the ninth.
*J.B. Shuck looked like a center fielder for a night, running 100 feet to flag a Bogaerts fly in the deepest part of the park.
*Frazier looked like Adam Dunn for a night, walking, homering and striking out twice.
*There was action in the bullpen with Robertson on the mound, which was a strange sight. Then again, it was his third game in a row.